Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Raymond Tempest: Rhode Island; Bulletin; Earlier this month, the state's high court upheld a new decision granting him a new trial because the judge found that police and prosecutors had violated Tempest’s right to a fair trial by coaching witnesses, failing to disclose evidence and suppressing key details about a witness’s changing statements. Now the state has filed a petition to re-argue the appeal on the basis that a note written by the then-prosecutor, James Ryan, that reads, "“too late, don’t volunteer new info, will cause big problems,” does not indicate a deliberate intention to obstruct justice..."Respectfully then, it is simply incorrect that 'the former prosecutor's own words 'don't volunteer' are indicative of a considered decision by the former prosecutor to suppress for the purpose of obstructing," read the petition (to re-open the case) signed by Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin." ..."The state asserts that Ryan was concerned about delaying the trial and argues the lower court "committed clear error" by not believing Ryan during a lengthy post-conviction hearing." Reporter Katie Mulvaney; The Providence Journal;


"State prosecutors are asking to argue, again, their appeal before the state Supreme Court in the Raymond D. "Beaver" Tempest Jr. murder case. The state Tuesday filed a petition to re-argue the case, now 34 years after prosecutors say Tempest bludgeoned to death 22-year-old Doreen Picard and severely injured Picard's landlord. The state disputed the value of evidence the high court determined had been withheld and its finding that then-prosecutor James Ryan deliberately failed to disclose witness statements in Tempest's 1992 trial. "Respectfully ... then, it is simply incorrect that 'the former prosecutor's own words 'don't volunteer' are indicative of a considered decision by the former prosecutor to suppress for the purpose of obstructing," read the petition signed by Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin. He was referring to a 1992 note from Ryan that read, “too late, don’t volunteer new info, will cause big problems.” The state asserts that Ryan was concerned about delaying the trial and argues the lower court "committed clear error" by not believing Ryan during a lengthy post-conviction hearing. The high court earlier this month found that Tempest was entitled to a new trial. In doing so, the court upheld a decision by Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Procaccini to vacate Tempest’s second-degree murder conviction for Picard's beating death. Procaccini found that police and prosecutors had violated Tempest’s right to a fair trial by coaching witnesses, failing to disclose evidence and suppressing key details about a witness’s changing statements. Procaccini did not declare Tempest innocent, but said he deserved a new trial. Tempest has been on home confinement since September. The high court agreed with Procaccini, with majority finding that Ryan violated Tempest’s due-process rights by failing to disclose witness statements to Tempest’s defense lawyer. In doing so, he violated rules governing the disclosure of exculpatory evidence or evidence that could be used to impeach witnesses at trial. A jury in 1992 convicted Tempest of Picard's murder. He was sentenced to serve 85 years in prison."
http://m.providencejournal.com/news/20160726/state-asks-ri-supreme-court-for-new-arguments-in-tempest-murder-case

See earlier Innocence Project note on the case at the link below:  "On April 22, 1992, Tempest was convicted of the 1982 murder of 22-year-old Doreen Picard. At his trial, the prosecution offered no physical evidence connecting Tempest to the crime, and there were no eyewitnesses claiming to have seen Tempest at the crime scene. The state’s case rested on four individuals who claimed that Tempest had confessed to them.  The individuals were all vulnerable to police pressure, due to their backgrounds in drug trafficking, drug use or prostitution.  Tempest was convicted and sentenced to 85 years."
 http://www.innocenceproject.org/raymond-d-tempest-jr-released-from-prison-on-bail/


Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Kerry Max Cook; Texas; Bulletin; Major (distressing) Development; A judge has recommended against finding Kerry Max Cook 'actually innocent'...“The ultimate issue in this case is a determination of who murdered Linda Edwards, not who had sexual relations with Linda Edwards,” Carter wrote. “(The new evidence) is definitely helpful to Cook’s defense, but this court does not find that it unquestionably proves that Cook is actually innocent. ”Tyler Morning Telegraph;


BACKGROUND: (From Northwestern's Bluhm Legal Clinic: 'Doctors diagnosis was nearly fatal': "Kerry Max Cook was twice convicted and twice sentenced to death for the 1977 murder and mutilation of a 21-year-old secretary in Tyler, Texas. The first conviction, in 1978, rested primarily on the testimony of a jailhouse snitch who claimed that Cook had confessed. Other witnesses testified that Cook had on occasion peered through the victim's window, watching her undress, and that, shortly before the murder, he had watched a movie depicting the mutilation of a cat. Dr. James Grigson, a now-infamous Dallas forensic psychiatrist dubbed "Dr. Death" by defense lawyers, testified that Cook had an antisocial personality disorder, virtually assuring that he would kill again. The prosecutor branded Cook a "little pervert," telling the jury: "I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't eat [the victim's] body parts." The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and death sentence, but in 1988, with Cook 11 days from execution, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the Texas court to review the case. Three years later, that court finally granted Mr. Cook a new trial. After one mistrial, Cook was convicted and sentenced to death a second time in 1994. Two years later, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned that conviction saying that "prosecutorial and police misconduct has tainted this entire matter from the outset." By this time, all of the evidence against Cook had been discredited, largely as a result of a reinvestigation conducted by Centurion Ministries. Prosecutors nonetheless threatened to try him yet again, even though DNA testing contradicted their original theory of the case, strongly suggesting that someone else committed the crime. Unaware of the DNA results, Cook agreed to plead no contest to a reduced charge of murder in order to avoid another possible death sentence."
http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/wrongfulconvictions/exonerations/tx/kerry-max-cook.html

TYLER MORNING NEWS STORY: Reporter Roy Maynard: (July 25, 2016): "A state district judge has declined to recommend that the state Court of Criminal Appeals approve Kerry Max Cook’s writ of actual innocence in the death of Linda Jo Edwards in 1977. Though Cook was twice convicted of her murder and spent nearly 20 years on death row, his conviction was set aside by Judge Jack Carter in June, following an agreement between Cook’s lawyers and the Smith County District Attorney’s Office. That was based on the fact that false evidence was given by a witness in Cook’s trials. But setting aside that verdict wasn’t a full exoneration. That’s something Cook sought with his writ. But Judge Carter, in his ruling released late Monday, found that Cook hadn’t met the high bar that “actual innocence” would require. “In order to meet this high standard of proof, the convicted defendant must show that new evidence, not available during trial, unquestionably establishes the applicant’s innocence,” Carter wrote. “Said another way, the new evidence must clearly and convincingly establish innocence. The applicant must show by clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable juror would have convicted him, in light of the new evidence.” But new evidence must be weighed against the whole, Carter said. And there’s undisputed evidence Cook was in the victim’s apartment - his fingerprint was found. And that witness who lied - former college dean James Mayfield - was shown to have had an affair with Ms. Edwards, but that’s all. “The ultimate issue in this case is a determination of who murdered Linda Edwards, not who had sexual relations with Linda Edwards,” Carter wrote. “(The new evidence) is definitely helpful to Cook’s defense, but this court does not find that it unquestionably proves that Cook is actually innocent.” Contacted late Monday, Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham said he’s pleased with the recommendation, which will now go before the Court of Criminal Appeals.........Bingham could conceivably retry Cook on the charges. He did not rule that out Monday night. “If the Court of Criminal Appeals adopts Judge Carter’s findings, then I will decide at that point how I will proceed,” he said. Cook was tried for the crime in 1978, convicted and sentenced to die by a Smith County jury. But the Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the case in 1989, because a psychologist had not read Cook his Miranda warning, thus rendering all information in the psychological interview useless. He was not freed at the time because he remained under indictment for capital murder, and then-Smith County District Attorney Jack Skeen took two more tries at convicting Cook. In 1992, Smith County tried the case, but the jury deadlocked, and a mistrial was declared. In 1994, Cook was found guilty of capital murder, but prosecutors used the testimony of a witness who had died. That was reversed by the Court of Criminal Appeals in 1997. In 1998, as Smith County was moving forward with a fourth trial, Skeen offered Cook a deal that would convict him of murder but would not require him to admit he killed the woman. In exchange for his plea of no contest, Cook was convicted of murder but sentenced to the time he already served. He was released from prison and has been challenging the ruling ever since. If he had been declared actually innocent, Cook would have been eligible for restitution from the State of Texas for as much as $1.6 million."
http://www.tylerpaper.com/TP-News+Local/238815/judge-recommends-against-ruling-kerry-max-cook-actually-innocent

See Texas Monthly article  by Michael Hall (June 6, 2016) - Reversal of Fortune Kerry Max Cook, a subject of The Exonerated, is finally exonerated - at the link below: "For almost 39 years, prosecutors in the Smith County District Attorney’s office have done their best to either send Kerry Max Cook to death row, keep him there, or—after he was freed on bond in 1997—prevent him from ever being able to walk the streets with absolute impunity. Today, these efforts stopped. This morning, in the 114th District Court of Smith County, district attorney Matt Bingham agreed to not contest Cook’s writ of habeas corpus—and to join with Cook’s attorneys in recommending that his murder conviction be overturned. Cook, who has sworn his innocence since he was arrested in August 1977 for the murder of Linda Jo Edwards, has finally been legally exonerated. Cook’s lawyers had filed the habeas writ in 2015, then filed a couple of amended writs this past spring, containing additional grounds. The most important ground, and the one Cook wanted the most, was the first, claiming that he is “actually innocent.” The state didn’t address that claim but agreed the court should grant the writ based on ground number five, that “Mr. Cook’s due process rights were violated by the presentation of false testimony from James Mayfield.” From 1977 to 1992, Mayfield—the boyfriend of Edwards, whom Cook was convicted of killing, had claimed that he and Edwards last had sex three weeks before her murder, and the prosecution used this to back up their assertion that the couple were just friends in that time; thus he had no motive to kill her. But in an April interview, Mayfield admitted that, in fact, the couple had had sex on June 8, the day before she was murdered. Mayfield also testified that he was not with Edwards in her apartment on the night of her murder—but a 1991 police report uncovered by Cook’s lawyers Gary Udashen and Bruce Anton found that Edwards’s roommate had told prosecutors that in fact she had seen Mayfield in the room with Edwards not long before she was murdered. This police report was not turned over to Cook’s lawyers before his trials in 1992 or 1994."

http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/kerry-max-cook-exonerated/

Charles Smith; 'What kind of man series'. Part Ten of ten; Publisher's View: Lessons learned;


PUBLISHER'S VIEW: (Editorial): In the most recent post (Part Nine) I referred to the late Peter Kormos' observation that Justice Stephen Goudge would not let Charles Smith get away with his defence that  his failings were "never intentional."  This reminded me of another one of Smith's many defences - that it was  unfair to pick on him because he acted no differently than any other pathologist would have acted within the prevailing knowledge of pathology at the time.   The flaw in this defence was, of course, that other pathologists in the province hopefully did not lie under oath, hide or destroy evidence  that might show that their  opinion was wrong, see themselves as members of the prosecution team,  falsely pretend that they had superior knowledge to bring  to the forensic issues in the case, or  unfairly disparage the opinions of  truly knowledgeable experts who testified for the defence. One of the biggest lessons I learned from reporting on Smith  for more than a decade was the danger of creating a false impression that innocent people were only being wrongfully charged and convicted because of one  notorious, arrogant, narcissistic, manipulative, opportunistic  pathologist named Charles Smith. While we must always be on guard for forensic frauds such as Manock and Smith, what about all the other parents and caregivers who may have been put through the horror of being wrongfully investigated, charged and convicted based on the evidence of pathologists  or  medical practitioners who, unlike Smith, were well-meaning,  sincere, fair, unbiased and neutral - but reached incorrect conclusions of child sexual abuse because the prevailing, accepted pathology being  taught in the medical schools and practiced in the field at the time was wrong. I learned this lesson around the time of the Goudge Inquiry when I was contacted by a retired physician  who told me that when he began practicing  medicine in the 1950's it was widely taught and believed that the mere existence of an enlarged hymen in a child was an indication that she had been sexually abused. This doctor told me that he and many other doctors of his vintage now, in the light of research and newly acquired knowledge, had suffered restless nights because they had inadvertently helped perpetuate miscarriages of justice because  they had reiterated  the flawed,  prevailing medical orthodoxy  of the time. I thought about my conversation  - and the lessons I have learned - when I read  an article entitled "Medical Considerations in the diagnosis of child sexual abuse," by Felicity Goodyear-Smith, published by the IPT Journal in Volume Six, 1994. The abstract reads: "There are no medical signs in the vast majority of sexual abuse cases.  Many findings promoted as physical indicators of abuse have been shown to be present in nonabused children.  In particular hymenal openings said to measure more than 4 mm, genital rashes and redness, and anal reflex dilatation have been demonstrated to be unreliable medical indicators.  Children can be harmed both by unnecessary invasive investigation (including general anesthesia) and by subsequent interventions if the allegations are false.  Doctors must insure that they have an empirical basis for the interpretation of their findings, and that they do not allow someone else's belief that a child has been abused to color their clinical judgment.  Describing normal findings as "consistent with abuse" is decried.  This practice is likely to mislead a court to erroneously believe that there is physical evidence supportive of abuse."  Goodyear Smith's conclusion is very wise, worthy of framing, particularly relevant to contemporary issues as to whether short falls can kill and shaken baby syndrome  - and will hold a hallowed place on this Blog: "There are no physical signs of abuse to be found in the vast majority of sexual abuse cases.  Medical findings supporting or proving abuse are not as clear cut as may be expected.  Many of the medical indicators advocated are frequently found in non-abused children.  The ubiquitous practice of describing completely normal examination findings as being "consistent with abuse" is likely to be misunderstood in a courtroom as evidence supporting an allegation.  Lay people serving as jurors are particularly apt to be misled by medical experts giving such testimony. Physicians examining a child for possible sexual abuse are likely to have been briefed by other workers who have already decided that the child has been sexually abused.  Many social workers and psychologists believe that false allegations are extremely rare and that "children never lie about abuse," and see their role as a "validator" that the abuse has occurred.  Once a belief that sexual abuse has taken place has become entrenched, very little can be done to sway the believers otherwise.  To even suggest the possibility of a false allegation is often to invite an emotional outburst and accusations of condoning or even colluding with abuse.  Actions and decisions may subsequently be made without scientific substantiation of the allegations. Doctors called upon to perform forensic sexual abuse examinations should have up-to-date information on the range of normal for nonabused children.  They should be very cautious on how they interpret their findings, and insure that they have an empirical basis for their claims.  Children can be seriously harmed both by invasive investigative practices and by subsequent interventions when the allegations are unfounded.  Physicians must always have in mind the Hippocratic vow, primum non nocere: first do no harm."

The entire article can be found at:
http://www.ipt-forensics.com/journal/volume6/j6_2_1.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.



The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:
 hlevy15@gmail.com;

Harold Levy;

Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;

Monday, July 25, 2016

Leo Ackley; Anthony Ball: Michigan; Bulletin: Shaken baby syndrome; Their lawyers are challenging the scientific evidence in two infant homicide cases..."On Monday a judge ruled in favor of the attorneys, who are hoping to prove that the prosecutor’s scientific experts can’t show that Ackley and Ball shook infants to death. Prosecutors testified that they’ve already proven that the babies suffered head injuries, injuries which ultimately killed them. “They don’t want us to look too closely behind the curtain,” said Ackley’s attorney Andrew Rodenhouse, “they don’t want us to look at the science.” Rodenhouse says Ackley’s case is setting a new standard for infant death cases across the nation and that more and more defense attorneys are challenging the evidence presented by the state. “We’re hoping to shake the science,” said Balls’ attorney Kymberly Schroeder. “We’re hoping to be able to prove that the underlying basis that this must be abuse, it’s always abuse is false. There’s no evidence, there’s no science behind it.”" WWMT;


 "Leo Ackley and Anthony Ball are both behind bars for infant homicide. While Ackley has been granted a new trial by the Michigan Supreme Court, Ball is headed to trial for the first time, but both are working to show that science can’t prove they are killers. It’s a detailed and complicated topic. Attorneys for both men are turning to science to prove or disprove what killed two babies in Calhoun County. “Just because we always do it one way doesn’t make it right,” said Calhoun County Judge John Hallacy. On Monday a judge ruled in favor of the attorneys, who are hoping to prove that the prosecutor’s scientific experts can’t show that Ackley and Ball shook infants to death. Prosecutors testified that they’ve already proven that the babies suffered head injuries, injuries which ultimately killed them. “They don’t want us to look too closely behind the curtain,” said Ackley’s attorney Andrew Rodenhouse, “they don’t want us to look at the science.” Rodenhouse says Ackley’s case is setting a new standard for infant death cases across the nation and that more and more defense attorneys are challenging the evidence presented by the state. “We’re hoping to shake the science,” said Balls’ attorney Kymberly Schroeder. “We’re hoping to be able to prove that the underlying basis that this must be abuse, it’s always abuse is false. There’s no evidence, there’s no science behind it.”"
http://wwmt.com/news/local/attorneys-challenge-scientific-evidence-in-two-infant-deaths

Scott Watson; New Zealand; Bulletin; Arthur Allan Thomas, the man wrongfully jailed for two murders in the 1970s, is lending his support to Watson, calling for a new trial for the convicted killer. "Although he had never spoken to Watson before, Thomas said his own experiences with the justice system meant he knew juries and the police could make mistakes. "I had great faith in the police, it wasn't until I went to the court that I realised what they had done by manufacturing the evidence against me. "I know things can go wrong, that juries can make the wrong verdict. I know that in my case because I'm an innocent man, but the police thought I'd done it so they moulded all the evidence against me." The fact that crown witness and water taxi driver Guy Wallace later recounted his identification of Watson as the person he dropped off with Hope and Smart warranted a new trial, Thomas said."...Stuff.co.nz


"Arthur Allan Thomas, the man wrongfully jailed for two murders in the 1970s, is lending his support to Scott Watson, calling for a new trial for the convicted killer. Watson has been in jail since 1999 when he was given a life sentence for the murders of Ben Smart, 21, and Olivia Hope, 17, in the Marlborough Sounds, but has always protested his innocence.........(Thomas) The 78-year-old was twice convicted of the murders of Jeanette and Harvey Crewe who were shot dead in their Waikato farmhouse in June 1970, before being dumped in the Waikato River. He served nine years in prison before being granted a Royal Pardon in 1979, and a scathing Royal Commission of Inquiry found detectives had planted a rifle cartridge linking him to the scene. Thomas, together with his daughter Bridgette and wife Jennifer, will attend a vigil for Watson in Christchurch next month. Although he had never spoken to Watson before, Thomas said his own experiences with the justice system meant he knew juries and the police could make mistakes. "I had great faith in the police, it wasn't until I went to the court that I realised what they had done by manufacturing the evidence against me.
"I know things can go wrong, that juries can make the wrong verdict. I know that in my case because I'm an innocent man, but the police thought I'd done it so they moulded all the evidence against me." The fact that crown witness and water taxi driver Guy Wallace later recounted his identification of Watson as the person he dropped off with Hope and Smart warranted a new trial, Thomas said. He said he had always supported Watson and suspected there was something wrong with the case against him. "He'd be bloody shattered, I know how he feels, that's why I'd like to do something about it and try to help him, because I know what it's like to be in Scott Watson's shoes. "I went through a bloody hard time, don't you worry. One part of my time I refused visitors because I lost faith in everything."
Thomas, who lives on a farm near Taupiri in the Waikato, previously lent his support to David Bain, whose convictions for the murder of his family were quashed by the Privy Council in 2007. New Zealand Public Interest Project trustee Nigel Hampton, QC, said cases like those of Bain and Watson showed there was a need for an independent body to be set up to review potential miscarriages of justice in New Zealand. A Criminal Cases Review Commission, similar to those set up in other countries, could examine cases to determine whether there were grounds for them to be ​looked at again, Hampton said. The constant debate surrounding the guilt or innocence of people like Watson and Bain was bad for the reputation of the justice system, which was something an independent body could help remedy, he said. "If you have constant headlines about people like Watson, October, Ellis and Bain, it undermines and gnaws away at public confidence in the system." "Why not set up a body that can study and objectively review the whole case and then come back with an authoritative answer."
http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/82379097/arthur-allan-thomas-calls-for-retrial-for-convicted-murderer-scott-watson

See a backgrounder on the controversial Scott Watson case at the link below: "Watson still maintains his innocence, and says he never met Smart and Hope.  "I don't know where Ben and Olivia are," he recently told North and South. "I've never met them, never seen them." "They definitely never came on my boat and I definitely didn't murder them. And they've basically dumped me in jail for half my lifetime, it must be coming up, for something I haven't done.""
 http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/74123354/Explainer-the-controversial-case-of-Scott-Watson
 

Oral Nicholas Hillary: New York State; New York Times sets up a DNA case set to begin Monday 26, July, is described as "shaping up as an important legal test of a cutting-edge method of teasing DNA evidence out of microscopic amounts of biological matter..." "The case involves the killing of the boy, Garrett Phillips, here in October 2011, a crime for which a former local college soccer coach, Oral Nicholas Hillary, has been charged, despite a seeming paucity of physical evidence. In recent months, however, the prosecution has suggested that it may use low-template DNA analysis to tie Mr. Hillary to Garrett’s murder, utilizing sophisticated algorithms to determine statistical probabilities by analyzing genetic data that older methods could not interpret. In particular, the prosecution is attempting to use software developed by a New Zealand company — STRmix — on a minute sample that was scraped from one of Garrett’s fingernails and came from an unknown individual, possibly during a struggle. But the defense team — led by a prominent civil rights lawyer, Norman Siegel, and a criminal defense lawyer, Earl S. Ward — has challenged the methodology as unreliable, citing past problems with STRmix’s computer programs, as well as the minuscule amount of material used for analysis. And this month, the judge in the case, Felix J. Catena, agreed to a so-called Frye hearing on the admissibility of the STRmix program, citing the extremely small amount of biological material. The hearing is scheduled to begin on Monday in nearby Canton."

STORY: "Potsdam Boys murder case: Potsdam Boy’s Murder Case May Hinge on Minuscule DNA Sample From Fingernail," by reporter Jesse McKinley, published by the New York Times on July 25, 2016.

PHOTO CAPTION:  "Oral Nicholas Hillary, who was a former boyfriend of Garrett Phillips’s mother, was charged in 2014 for the boy’s 2011 murder; he has maintained his innocence and has suggested the prosecution may be driven in part by race."

GIST: "A long-simmering murder case in northern New York connected to the strangulation of a 12-year-old boy is shaping up as an important legal test of a cutting-edge method of teasing DNA evidence out of microscopic amounts of biological matter.  "The case involves the killing of the boy, Garrett Phillips, here in October 2011, a crime for which a former local college soccer coach, Oral Nicholas Hillary, has been charged, despite a seeming paucity of physical evidence. In recent months, however, the prosecution has suggested that it may use low-template DNA analysis to tie Mr. Hillary to Garrett’s murder, utilizing sophisticated algorithms to determine statistical probabilities by analyzing genetic data that older methods could not interpret. In particular, the prosecution is attempting to use software developed by a New Zealand company — STRmix — on a minute sample that was scraped from one of Garrett’s fingernails and came from an unknown individual, possibly during a struggle. But the defense team — led by a prominent civil rights lawyer, Norman Siegel, and a criminal defense lawyer, Earl S. Ward — has challenged the methodology as unreliable, citing past problems with STRmix’s computer programs, as well as the minuscule amount of material used for analysis. And this month, the judge in the case, Felix J. Catena, agreed to a so-called Frye hearing on the admissibility of the STRmix program, citing the extremely small amount of biological material. The hearing is scheduled to begin on Monday in nearby Canton; its outcome may be felt in Potsdam — a riverfront village that has been shaken and divided by Garrett’s murder — as well as further afield, as prosecutors seek more methods to convict those charged and defense lawyers seek more ways to exonerate them. New computer programs have allowed analysis of many samples — often with mixed and multiple individuals’ DNA — that were previously considered inconclusive. Still, there is scientific debate about the use of such low-template DNA (which refers to how much DNA is recovered, sometimes as little a few cells) and low-copy-number DNA analysis (the process of using extra amplification of very small samples).........The most immediate effect of the hearing may be on Mr. Hillary, who has steadfastly maintained his innocence, suggesting that the prosecution may be driven in part by his race: Mr. Hillary, 42, is black, while the vast majority of St. Lawrence County is white, as was Garrett. The St. Lawrence County district attorney, Mary Rain, has denied that Mr. Hillary’s race is a motivating factor. But his assertion of an unjustified prosecution has been bolstered by the lack of hard evidence: The police have said in earlier testimony that no fingerprints, no witnesses and no hair or tissue samples link him to the crime. Mr. Hillary, who still lives in Potsdam with his girlfriend and their five children, has also been backed by a public campaign to press his innocence.At the same time, Ms. Rain’s competence has been questioned after a series of professional missteps that led to a no-confidence vote by county legislators in April. The Frye hearing is the latest legal chapter in a case that stretches back almost five years to Garrett’s murder, which occurred on a rainy afternoon in a run-down apartment building along one of this village’s main thoroughfares. Mr. Hillary, the coach of the men’s soccer team at Clarkson University here when Garrett was killed, was a former boyfriend of the boy’s mother, and a suspect from the beginning. He was not charged until 2014, after Ms. Rain, a Republican who had promised to bring new scrutiny to the crime, was elected. (Her predecessor, Nicole Duve, a Democrat, had declined to bring charges, citing a lack of evidence.) The first indictment against Mr. Hillary was thrown out for prosecutorial misconduct, and though a second indictment was later secured, the judge in the case asked to be recused earlier this year after filing an ethics complaint against Ms. Rain. Ms. Rain has enlisted William Fitzpatrick, a well-regarded district attorney from the Syracuse area, to assist in the prosecution.........Last year, a coding error in the STRmix program was reported to have affected probabilities in dozens of cases in Queensland, Australia. Dr. John Buckleton, a creator of STRmix, is expected to testify during the hearing in Canton. Mr. Hillary is also expected to attend." The entire story can be found at:  

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/25/nyregion/potsdam-boys-murder-case-may-hinge-on-statistical-analysis.html

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. 


The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site. 

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:


http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: 

hlevy15@gmail.com;

Harold Levy;

Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;



Purvi Patel: Indiana; Commentator views her reduced 'feticide' sentence Is a victory—but not enough in 'The Establishment."..." "In a partial victory yesterday for reproductive justice advocates, the Indiana Court of Appeals vacated unjustly incarcerated Purvi Patel’s felony conviction for “feticide” while upholding the prosecution and conviction for “felony neglect of a dependent.”...Essentially, they can’t prove her neglect was on purpose enough for the felony with a 30-year sentence, but are still saying she really should have known better, so she still faces three years because the fetus was definitely born alive. The almost unfathomable acceptance of the state’s “medical” testimony about viability was described perfectly by Rewire’s vice president of law and the courts, Jessica Mason Pieklo: “[T]he state’s medical expert used the ‘lung float test,’ also known as the hydrostatic test, to conclude Patel’s fetus had taken a breath outside the womb. The test, developed in the 17th century, posits that if a fetus’ lungs are removed and placed in a container of liquid and the lungs float, it means the fetus drew at least one breath of air before dying. If the lungs sink, the theory holds, the fetus did not take a breath. Not surprisingly, medical forensics has advanced since the 17th century, and medical researchers widely question the hydrostatic test’s reliability. Yet this is the only medical evidence the state presented of live birth.”


COMMENTARY:  "Purvi Patel's Reduced 'Feticide' Sentence Is A Victory—But Not Enough" by Katie Klabusich, published by 'The Establishment' on July 23, 2016. 'The Establishment' describes itself as: "a multimedia company run and funded by women that’s predicated on a simple, yet radical notion: the world is a better, more interesting place when everyone has a voice."

GIST: "In a partial victory yesterday for reproductive justice advocates, the Indiana Court of Appeals vacated unjustly incarcerated Purvi Patel’s felony conviction for “feticide” while upholding the prosecution and conviction for “felony neglect of a dependent.”...Essentially, they can’t prove her neglect was on purpose enough for the felony with a 30-year sentence, but are still saying she really should have known better, so she still faces three years because the fetus was definitely born alive. The almost unfathomable acceptance of the state’s “medical” testimony about viability was described perfectly by Rewire’s vice president of law and the courts, Jessica Mason Pieklo: “[T]he state’s medical expert used the ‘lung float test,’ also known as the hydrostatic test, to conclude Patel’s fetus had taken a breath outside the womb. The test, developed in the 17th century, posits that if a fetus’ lungs are removed and placed in a container of liquid and the lungs float, it means the fetus drew at least one breath of air before dying. If the lungs sink, the theory holds, the fetus did not take a breath. Not surprisingly, medical forensics has advanced since the 17th century, and medical researchers widely question the hydrostatic test’s reliability. Yet this is the only medical evidence the state presented of live birth.”.........The response from Shelly Dodson, director of All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center in Bloomington, Indiana, was more scathing. As she said in a statement following the Court’s ruling: “The research is clear. If pregnant people fear criminal consequences, they don’t go to the doctor. Indiana is setting a dangerous precedent not to trust the medical community. Choosing to criminalize people around pregnancy decisions and pregnancy outcomes is a grave injustice, which is just as true for anti-abortion laws like HB 1337 as it is for Purvi Patel. The state of Indiana is sending a clear message, to anyone who is or might be pregnant that, “you don’t deserve help, you don’t deserve support—you deserve jail.” People throughout Indiana deserve open-hearted support through all their pregnancy and parenting turning points and to be treated with respect and dignity.”.........Parker Dockray, executive director of the pregnancy, parenting, adoption, and abortion support organization Backline and All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center in Bloomington, Indiana, broke down the scope of the injustice from the Patel case and tied it to the need for access to the full spectrum of education and health-care services: “The state of Indiana is choosing to restrict and punish women of color who experience poor pregnancy outcomes, while at the same time taking away needed supports such as unbiased options counseling, information and support for postpartum depression, and other resources for pregnant people and families. Purvi Patel’s case is an example of why access to information and support is so crucial. Indiana’s leaders continue to enforce a punitive response when their focus should be on increasing supportive programs and access to information—not on punishing people who have had a miscarriage or are seeking abortion care.”

The entire commentary can be found at:

http://www.theestablishment.co/2016/07/23/purvi-patels-reduced-feticide-sentence-is-a-victory-but-not-enough/

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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:


http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: 

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Harold Levy;

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